Laurel

Who are you?

I am Laurel of Foundry Ice Cream: small batches of super-premium ice cream crafted in Hamilton using seasonal ingredients from local growers. You can find us all season at the Locke Street and Waterdown Farmers’ Markets on Saturdays till 1pm, and at Ancaster Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays from 3-7pm. You can also pick up pints of Foundry Ice Cream at The Mustard Seed Co-opPinecone Coffee, and Mickey McGuire’s Cheese Shop!


Why Hamilton?
We settled on Hamilton after moving from Vancouver last year — my partner teaches film studies and we relocated for his job at Sheridan. We wanted to settle somewhere with a reasonable commute from Sheridan’s campuses and we’re city mice at heart so we had our feelers out in both Toronto and Hamilton. Ultimately we liked the possibility that Hamilton offered: not just the vastly more affordable housing situation, but also the sense that you could kind of go your own way in Hamilton in ways that don’t seem as likely in Toronto. Yeah. The sense of possibilty, I think that’s how I’d describe it. And, as an outsider, Hamilton immediately seemed so friendly, and involved.


Where do you live?

We looked in Gage Park, Corktown, Hamilton West before we settled on Dundas. When we arrived in Ontario, Hamilton real estate was booming and we actually had a lot of trouble finding something because everything that looked promising was disappearing in a bidding war before we had a chance to see it! We knew we wanted easy public transit access to downtown and a thoroughly walkable neighbourhood. Accessibility to stuff is so important! Our neighbourhood has both.

…the sense that you could kind of go your own way in Hamilton…Yeah. The sense of possibilty, I think that’s how I’d describe it. And, as an outsider, Hamilton immediately seemed so friendly, and involved.


What resources were helpful to you in making your decision?

Before we moved East, I cold-called a local blogger (This Must Be The Place) and asked her straight-up about neighbourhoods and walkability. She was very helpful and put us in touch with a great agent. My partner grew up in Burlington, and still knows lots of people locallys, so we had his ready-made fondness for Hamilton to our great advantage when we were weighing the pros and cons.


What resources do you WISH you’d had access to that would have helped?

Ideally you’d be able to live in and walk neighbourhoods for a few weeks at a time in order to get a better sense of them when moving from so far away, but you kind of have to jump in and hope for the best!

 

What things surprised you the most about Hamilton? Good & Bad

I’m from the west coast via Montreal — I’m a first-time Ontarian and knew very little about Hamilton when we moved here. I loved finding out about Art Crawl. It’s the kind of thriving, beloved thing that only seems possible in a place like Hamilton. And I love that no matter what you’re looking for, you can find it here: great coffee, old furniture, book stores, graphic designers, cheap spices, art galleries, wildlife, delicious burgers: it’s all here. I wish there was a rapid transit system, though. And those one-way streets! It’s like a protracted game of tetris trying to navigate them. I’m still getting used to it.


What advice do you have for anyone considering a move to Hamilton?

Keep an open mind. Hamilton is changing so quickly. Neighbourhoods you wouldn’t necessarily consider venturing to a few years ago are bustling now with new stuff. Walk everywhere, introduce yourself, try everything.


What are your favourite places and things to do around the city?

In no particular order: 1. Coffee. 2. Escarpment. 3. The Yard.

  1. There are new cafes opening all the time (PineconeSmallsVintageSt. James Eatery) and they are all providing me with delicious espresso drinks.
  2. The escarpment! I use it to quickly orient myself like I used the mountains in Vancouver (“where am I? can I see the escarpment from here?”). I don’t even really understand what it is or how it developed, but the roads up and down it are lovely: winding and leafy. It’s cool to know you’re so close to conservation land even when you’re right downtown.
  3. A backyard is something I only ever dreamed of living in Vancouver. My favorite part of living here is hanging the laundry up on the line and eating al fresco back there. I don’t know why, but you start to feel immediately at home when you can bring your food outside, even if only on a folding table.


Of all the things going on Hamilton these days – what are you most excited about?
I’m really excited about the food trucks. They are such a great, fast, delicious way to eat. And I’m excited about Foundry’s burgeoning place here, of course. I hope we can continue to provide ice cream that showcases the things that grow and are produced around here, and to become more and more a part of Hamilton’s events, markets, and shops.